Stars: Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Common, Dominique McElligott, Tom Noonan, Christopher Heyerdahl
Writer:  Chris Mundi
Director: Catherine Hardwicke    
Network: AMC, airs Sunday nights
Original Telecast: September 2, 2012

HELL ON WHEELS has some surprising character study in the latest episode, “Scabs”. There’s a lot going on that with certain characters that I was honestly amazed by, simply because of who the characters have been up to this point in the first and now second seasons of the show.

So the big stink of this episode is that the Sioux are threatening the continued building of the railroad as it is getting ready to cross into what they consider sacred lands. This also means that they are killing off railroad workers when they get the chance, and Bohannan (Anson Mount) has to deal with a worker crew that is no longer willing to work and put their lives in jeopardy.

We’ve seen Bohannan do some cold things before, but his skills of manipulation in this episode are without equal in the series. The fact that he orders up more workers and has them brought in basically ‘express train’ just in the hopes of unifying the men both white and black is genius, but also really creepy when you think about it. He doesn’t care one way or another who lives or dies when a riot breaks out between the new works fresh off the train, and the original workers that he has known this whole time. Clearly, he takes his job for Durant (Colm Meaney) very seriously and is willing to sacrifice who and what he must to ensure that the job gets done. But like I said before…that’s just cold man.

There’s some interesting shifts in the dynamics between Mr. Toole (Duncan Ollerenshaw), Elam (Common), and Eva (Robin McLeavy). Not such a huge surprise that Elam and Eva have been knocking boots in the woods outside the camp, and not a surprise that she ends up pregnant; but the way this changes all of them is the big surprise. Elam wants her to get an abortion, which is a really sh*ty way to say “I love you”. Mr. Toole gets drunk and it looks like he might smack her around, but instead ends up having a verbal throw down with Elam in which he calls him a coward for not wanting to be a father. Mr. Toole then at the end of the episode lays down beside Eva with a protective hand across her stomach. WOW! Who saw that coming? Mr. Toole is actually a stand up guy?! I am absolutely amazing in the direction they have taken this character since last season when he was (pun intended) a tool. I have no idea where this story goes from here, but I really want Eva to call it quits with Elam. He’s just getting on my nerves so far this season and I’m kinda glad he had his ass handed to him in a bud fight this episode.

So the railroad construction is keeping on apace, everyone lives keep going in interesting directions, and as always we have the looming threat of Indians and brigands about the landscape to keep viewers on our toes…all in all a really well done week in HELL

Related: TV Review: HELL ON WHEELS – Season 2 – “The Railroad Job”
Related: TV Review: HELL ON WHEELS – Season 2 – “Slaughterhouse”

Related: TV Review: HELL ON WHEELS – Season 2  – “Durant, Nebraska”

Related: TV Review: HELL ON WHEELS – Season 2 Premiere – “Viva La Mexico”

RelatedExclusive Interview with HELL ON WHEELS  actress Dominique McElligott
RelatedExclusive Interview with HELL ON WHEELS co-creator Joe Gayton
Related: Exclusive Interview with HELL ON WHEELS star Colm Meaney


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Article: TV Review: HELL ON WHEELS – Season 2 – “Scabs”


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